Media Moves

Google considering acquiring TikTok-like competitor Firework

October 9, 2019

Posted by Mariam Ahmed

Google is reportedly considering an acquisition of “Firework,” an app similar to TikTok, as per the Wall Street Journal. Firework is a US-based start-up that allows users to make and share 30-second videos with strangers. The company was valued at over $100 million earlier in 2019.

This acquisition would launch Google back into the social space after the multimedia giant shuttered its struggling Google+ social network in April.

The news was delivered to Business Insider earlier this morning.

The acquisition would add Google in with Facebook when it comes to competing against TikTok. It was revealed last week that Facebook is building a TikTok competitor called “Lasso.”

According to App Ape Lab, the app features over a billion downloads while being popular mostly with the younger generation. Stats reported by App Ape Lab show that over 65 percent users are under the age of 30.

Google has a specific interest in mitigating TikTok’s influence given that the new app has been positioned as a potential threat to YouTube’s dominance among content creators. This was especially evident as this year’s VidCon where “ some noted creators’ disproportionate excitement about TikTok compared with YouTube.”

Additionally, if Google does purchase Firework, both platforms could benefit from cross-pollination. While the average YouTube video is over 4 minutes long, compared with a 15-second max for TikTok, there is an appetite for shorter content on YouTube.

Also, it is not difficult to imagine YouTube promoting Firework videos and playlists through both its recommendations engine and homepage, raising awareness of the platform among its billions of users.

However, Google is facing heavy pressure from regulators and lawmakers, ranging from the Department of Justice to a coalition of state attorneys general, investigating it for anti-competitive behavior. This could act as a hurdle for the company to overcome in acquiring Firework.

Google has purchased 270 companies in the past couple of decades, of which 171 were competitors, per The New York Times.

Despite the obstacles, Google did manage to complete a $2.6 billion acquisition of data analytics firm Looker this summer, making it difficult to tell exactly how regulators might react.


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